RGB Colors and Color Commands

The RGB background color of the Sxnnnn switches can be programmed by using the 1 byte color command 0x41, the 3 byte color command 0x42 or for the SD/SE6432 switches only the 9 byte 0x48 command.
The 0x41 command is used for backwards compatibility reasons in legacy systems with 2 bits per color channel with 2 leading zeros for a 00RRGGBB data byte.
The 0x42 command allows for a much larger color spectrum by using 3 bytes, 1 byte each for each RGB channels with the data byte in 0RRRRRRR 0GGGGGGG 0BBBBBBB format.
The 0x48 command is only available in the SD3624, SE6432 and TE6432 switches with Multi-Sement Color MSC™. The 9 bytes following the command set the color for 3 RGB segments, although only segments 1 and 2 are used in the current SD, SE and TE switches. Segment 3 values should be set to 0x00 0x00 0x00.

Multi-Segment Color MSC™ is the latest innovation in RGB-backlit LCD switches. It allows users to programm different RGB background colors for the upper and lower segment of the LCD. This will allow for additional user interface options such as simultaneous switch grouping and operating status information in switch. The MSC™ command (0x48) imagines 3 segments, but in the current SD and SE switches only segments 1 and 2 are used. The 0x48 command is followed by 9 bytes of RGB values. The first 3 values between 0x00 and 0x7f are for the upper segment 1, the next 3 for the lower segment 2 and the last three set to 0x00 for segment 3.

While we calibrate the Sxnnnn switches for optimal color uniformity during the production process the RBG colors will, over time, change due to the aging process of the LED crystals. Since the crystals age in similar fashion over time, this may not be apparent in a panel. However, you should be mindful of this effect when replacing switches in exisitng panels. It may be advisable to exchange all switches in a panel instead of individual switches, especially in older panels that have been operating for 10 years or more.

During our manufacturing process we take special care to create uniform colors across the switches since many of our customers create large switch panels and consoles that are utilized in darkened studio environments. Since our switches use single or quad RGB LED crystals any natural variation in color output is multiplied. We compensate for these differences by measuring the color output in the production process and individually program each switch to generate a specifically defined color value. The corresponding values are written to the switches and documented together with other parameters. Changes to these values are not under user control and require factory reprogramming.

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Legacy Mode™ - Compatibility with Screenkeys Trend switches

The SA3624 switch distinguishes between the different command formats. So, if you are sending in legacy mode the commands are interpreted accordingly and should also be in the legacy format. While in the SA Mode commands and data-format should be accordingly. In other words, you can alternate legacy and SA commands as long as your data format is consistant and you follow the timing requirements. Since the SA3624 allows for both protocols it is also valid to have a permanent clock while in SA mode.
For more details, see the Legacy Mode description here.

Data-Format for SA mode is: Startbit = 0, D7, D6, D5, D4, D3, D2, D1, D0.
Data-Format in Legacy mode is: Startbit = 0, D0, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, Parity, 6 Stopbits
The bit sequence between the two formats is reversed. The MSB of the first byte acts as a startbit. All data-packets in SA mode are 8 bit wide.

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Bitmapping & Graphics

You can use any image source, for example a jpeg image, to create a bitmap for our switches. Since our displays are black & white LCDs you need to convert, scale and resize the image and, then, transfor it into the bitmap data required for the switches. This is described in the application note here.

You can store bitmaps in the CC0064 controller library. By doing so you can considerably speed up the transfer of image data to the switch since you will not have to transmit the data bytes for the image from the host to the controller. Instead the data is called from the library and displayed to the switches directly. The commands used for this operation are described in the CC0064 controller manual here .

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Protocol & Timing

All our devices are serial and, therefore, independent of the operating system you use. Consequently, there is no API. Instead, please refer to our CC0064 controller manual here and the user guides for implementing RS232, USB and Ethernet interfaces here and here.

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Controller & Development System

The DS0002 DevBoard is a development and rapid prototyping system. It uses the same CC0064 controller that is used in all our CP panels. This means that the DevBoard is a full fledged control panel. The main board contains only a battery pack to provide power and the USB and DB-9 connectors for interface connections to the host system. The CC0064 is mounted onto the main board as is a 2 switch key matrix. This matrix and the controller, however, can be removed from the main board and connected to each other creating a mini control panel with 2 switches. As a result of this modular design of our DevBoard you can use all software written for the DevBoard when scaling up to a full-size key matrix and control panel. The manual can be found here

The CC0064 controls up to 64 Sxnnnn switches via RS232 or USB interfaces. If you need to control more than 64 switches, you can do so by using multiple CC0064s in additional COM ports. The controller also allows you to store bitmaps in a library for faster display of bitmaps. In addition, you can use dynamic text to write directly to the switches or mix bitmaps and text. The details on the CC0064 controller can be found here. Of course, we can also create a custom controller for your specific application.

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Switch Design & Durability

Overtravel Protection is a mechanical design feature of our switches that protects the contact element from excessive force during a key press. The force needed to press a key is defined as 1.3N with a key travel of 2.0mm. As shown in the image nearby, if more force is used and the key depressed more than 2mm, the lower edge of the key body will impact the circuit board. The force is transmitted from the keytop via the key body to the PCB before the contact element is fully compressed. This protects the gold-on-carbon contact element significantly increasing the lifetime of our switches. Our UK partner Devlin Electronics has conducted extensive tests, which are desribed here.

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Desktop, Rackmount and Custom Control Panels

Our development team can work with you to realize customer solutions including the integration of addition I/O devices, displays, protocols or special mounting and power requirements. Please send us an inquiry here.

We regularly produce control panels based on customer specifications. Different form factors, mounting requirements, additional I/O devices and displays can be realized. Please provide us with your design specifications here for a quote.

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All our panels use the CC0064 controller which comes with RS232 and USB interfaces. In order to control the panel you need to establish a serial data connection to the panel on the COM port your panel is connected to. This is described in more detail in the document you can download here.

All our control panels are serial devices making them independent of operating systems. Staying with this philosophy, we are using an Ethernet-to-serial adapter to realize IP integration of our panel solutions. You can download the corresponding description here. Ethernet integration is an option available in all rack-mount units. Custom designs are available upon request.

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General Questions

You can purchase our switches from our distribution partners or direct from the factory. Please send us your inquiry here and we will forward it accordingly.

We are primarily a b2b manufacturer selling our switches to industry leading original equipment manufacturers, system developers and integrators. We also design, develop and manufacture custom panel solutions based on customer specifications. Our systems are designed for integration and do not include the host control software. As such we will sell to retail customers wishing to integrate our switches or panels into their own systems. Please note that limitations apply and certain products are only available as part of a control panel design.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) we have received a number of requests for information on how to best clean and disinfect the Sxnnnn switches.
The keycap of the Sxnnnn keyswitches is made from Plexiglas® HW55 (acrylic glass). This material is a copolymer of methyl methacrylate (MMA) with comonomer constituents.
While the switch surface is resistant to weak acids, weak caustic solutions, fats, oils and turpentine, they are NOT resistant to concentrated acids, oxidizing acids, concentrated caustic solutions, and alcohols. The switch surface can best be cleaned and disinfected with a microfibre cloth dampened with hot water and regular household detergent. Care should be taken not to cause running water to run down the sides of the switches, which may cause shortcircuits on the PCB. Please refer to the special application note here for details.

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